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Depressing thoughts after taking azithromycin

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Hi everyone, I have an issue that doesn't exactly fit into a depression subforum because it's about a drug side effect, but it has some connections with the topic:

On 23 December I woke up with sore throat (again), obviously amoxicilin I had been prescribed two weeks before failed to cure the infection. My doctor then prescribed azithromycin (a.k.a. zithromax or sumamed), three 500mg pills over three days.

It started well, however on day 3 (25 Dec) I suddenly bursted into tears, thinking "What's the point of living if we're all going to die sooner or later?" I never had thoughts like that before, in fact, I'm a young and ambitious, mentally sane person, but depression and those scary thoughts struck me and still haven't let go, it's been like a nightmare. For instance, I see an elderly person, and a thought comes to my mind, "He'll be gone soon, and one day you'll be in his position"

Today's my day 9 upon starting with azithromycin. My situation is better than on 25th and 26th, but I still feel depressed during 3-8 hours of the day, and those thoughts about transcience of life scare me, I wonder if I'll ever feel happy again, and be excited and worried about everyday things.

All thoughts are welcome, while I need help from someone who's had a similar experience, or who has knowledge on excretion of drugs, preferrably this one. I just wonder when it will go away and give me my old life back, I'm terrified by a possibility that I remain in this condition... Question
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First Helper saffola
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replied January 1st, 2011
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Hi MFish: It is possible that this is some kind of an allergic reaction from this drug...I would call either your doctor or talk to your Pharmacist...The Pharmacist has all the records on hand of what this drug can do to you and probably would be a better person to talk to about this...Either way if it continues to bother you then call your physician...Take care...

Caroline
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Users who thank CarolineEF for this post: MFish 

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replied January 1st, 2011
I feel somewhat better today on day 10, I think the symptoms are slowly fading away over time. Still, I'll contact an expert during the next week, as you said.

Thanks for replying.
MFish
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replied January 1st, 2011
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being.Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience overeating or loss of appetite, or problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions; and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may be present.

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replied January 1st, 2011
Psychiatric syndromes

A number of psychiatric syndromes feature depressed mood as a main symptom. Mood disorders are a group of disorders considered to be primary disturbances of mood. Within them, major depressive disorder (MDD), commonly called major depression, or clinical depression, is a condition where a person has at least two weeks of depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities. Dysthymia is a state of chronic depressed mood, the symptoms of which do not meet the severity of a major depressive episode. People suffering bipolar disorder may also experience major depressive episodes.
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replied July 19th, 2013
azithromycin causing short term depression
I know this question was posted years ago, but I can comment as a person who took the medication and has done so, several times in the last 3years for sinus infections. Every time my experience is the same. Not including the first time I took it. The first time I was given this antibiotic, I was very ill with a sinus infection that was resistant to amoxicillan. I felt better less than 24hours after taking first dose of the azithromycin. I was pleased with lack of side effects and such relief from sinus pain and overall malaise that I had been feeling. I completed the full prescription and my sinus infection was treated. I don't recall the weeks to follow so I can't state how my first time taking the medicine was at end. However, I started with another sinus infection approx 6months later I saw my family Dr and requested azithromycin due to its short dosing and previous experience. I recall feeling great while taking this prescription again. I was definitely experiencing an increase in drowsiness and fatigue but I think I assumed it was more so due to infection. After completing this round, my sinus infection was gone and I felt ok until aporox 5days post completion of med.i recall feeling an overall sadness and mild depression I was irritable and increased anxiety. It was the worst the first few days and as time passed I felt better. I assumed possible link but didn't fully believe an antibiotic could have those side effects. I have had a few more prescriptions of this medication over the past 2 years. It does work great for curing my chronic sinus infections. I even noticed an improvement while taking the med, from chest congestion and stomach discomfort( I have irritable bowel syndrome)..However, I sleep past alarms and am definitely fatigued and spaced out during the 5 day course. I've noted every time I've taken it, the first 2 to 3days following completion of med I have energy increase, improved mental clarity, but stomach cramps and diarrhea. At 5 to 7 days post completion, I start to feel depressed, angry and it is at its worse on days 8-14. It then disappears as if I never even took the medication. At first, I would blame hormones or stress etc
but started to notice the bad effects that came with the good. I know nothing is perfect. Most drugs have side effects. I have not changed meds during a sinus infection due to its great effectiveness while I am taking it. I also like the ease of short term duration. .and how it clears my chronic chest congestion and stomach discomfort. What I strongly have come to dislike is the water retention while taking it. I don't have stomach discomfort but I do eexperience constipation while taking it. Then, as stated above....as soon as med is completed the following day or 2 after completing it, I experience stomach cramps and diarrhea but after being backed up. ..I find that to not be so negative. It's the psychological effects that are the worse. I'm only posting this now because I happen to have a sinus infection again. .amoxicillan failed curing and I was given clarithromycin which caused intense anxiety, chest pain, and rapid pulse that woke me from sleep. Im in the medical field, so I don't immediately blame a medication but elevated bp and abnormal heart rhythms proved I had to cease remaining rx.i am currently taking azithromycin and have felt very dizzy, exhausted, and this time on day 2 I'm already feeling extremely depressed. Crying at every little thing. . Any one who knows me, knows I don't cry a lot. This is intense and tge despair is incomprehensible. I just want to complete med and be better. I know stopping meds and not completing treatment can cause resistant strains of bacteria. I will tough through this but hopefully this will help someone else searching for similar experience as I just did. .
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replied April 2nd, 2014
Anxiety, Depression and Confusion after Aziwok 500 mg
Hi, I am very glad I read this because I am having a similar experience. I had a sore throat and mild fever (101 F) and the doctor diagnosed pharyngitis and gave me aziwok 500 mg, three pills. He probably gave me this because I told him I had to travel so I needed to clear up my sore throat and fever. It was a mistake in hindsight. Should have lived with the sore throat, it wasn't that bad compared to this. I finished my medication a week ago exactly. At first I had extreme exhaustion and got dehydrated. Was really dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out. Then I slept and slept peacefully for hours and all my muscles felt relaxed and loose. It felt good except I couldn't do much except rest and eat and drink plenty of water and juice. But since last two days I've been experiencing irregular heartbeat, my diaphragm and chest area feel tight, I feel disoriented and have gaps in time. Today I felt inexplicable sadness and had thoughts about dying and my family not caring. I felt as though something was seriously wrong with me even though there is no concrete reason to believe this. I upset my sister by saying all these things. Now Im having trouble sleeping and its 3:15 am. I just hope these symptoms subside in the next few days.
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replied April 5th, 2014
Update: It has been two days since my last post. My symptoms are a little bit better but not by much. I still get fairly easily tired and must eat and drink plenty in order to stay active. The brain fog is much better but still having mini panic attacks in the evening after I eat followed by anxiety and depression. Last two days I felt almost completely normal during the day and enjoyed going out with my sister and family.
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replied April 24th, 2014
Update 2: It is now a full month after I stopped taking the antibiotic. Symptoms have improved considerably. I have returned to work and can drive. My mom is visiting me to take care of me and I appreciate her support. The rest of my family has also been very supportive. I have been to my GP, blood work is all clear. ENT exam is all clear. Current symptoms are low-level anxiety felt as disturbance in stomach, feeling low and getting out of breath climbing stairs or talking on the phone for a long time. Yoga, rest, breathing and stress reduction have helped. Seeing a psychotherapist has also helped a lot. The most bothersome symptom right now is that when I look at a compute and try to concentrate on work, the pressure in my head and below the jaw rises and causes eye floaters and cause my eyes to want to go out of focus. It hampers my ability to be productive at work. At this point, I would say that the antibiotics were a complicating factor in an anxiety problem I had anyway. But the antibiotics made it a LOT Worse, they add a lot of stress to your system so when you take them, please evaluate your current condition.
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replied January 22nd, 2015
Update 3
Update 3: It is now 10 months since I took the azithromycin. My life has changed a lot. Home, relationships, work. I now question if the anxiety was actually because of the meds or were they just a factor in an otherwise complicated life I was living. What has worked for really well are the following things:

0. Support for family and friends
1. Paul David's Anxiety Blog
2. The book Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weeks
3. Mindfulness meditation
4. Acupuncture (only recently)
5. Being courageous

I have taken no medication. Not a single pill has gone down my gullet. For this I am eternally grateful. I hope people find this helpful.
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replied April 5th, 2016
Though it's years after the original post, I'm writing that Azithromycin does--in fact--have an effect of depression AFTER you stop taking it. This has happened to me, along with slight unsteadiness and, at times, mild panic attacks. I've been off for a month, but it seems to be hitting hard. I'm walking, working out, and drinking water to help get over this. Also, Azithromycin causes rapid weight gain and I'm sure this throws off the body's internal balance. I'll post again.
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replied June 26th, 2016
Depression on zpack
Antibiotics have many side effects and depression, due to constantly falling asleep all of the time and not getting what you need done, may be a factor. New medical news out about Zpack is that it has caused cardiac deaths...the medical student should look that one up.
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replied October 7th, 2016
Z-Pack and Depression
I was happy to find this thread. I'm on my 2nd day of a Z-pack and have had periods of depression both days. They haven't lasted all day either day but they're marked. I was on the verge of tears a few minutes ago and thought, "What in the WORLD is going on?" It's like these bouts of moderately severe depression just come out of the blue. It's good to know that it probably is drug-related and also that it does seem to lift eventually. A bit discouraging that symptoms can linger after stopping the drug but just knowing that the end should come eventually will give me some hope.
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replied June 14th, 2017
on April 10th 2017 my twenty-year-old son began taking azithromycin for an upper respiratory infection. Within 4 hours of his first dose he reported to his father. He didn't feel right and it was kicking his ass. His dad asked the questions are you itching do you have hives do you have diarrhea Etc worried about an allergic reaction. Myra Son reported back #no I just don't feel right# on day 2 of taking this death drug he reported again to my boyfriend via Facebook Messenger that he wasn't feeling right and something was wrong so he asked again or do you have diarrhea what kind of symptoms are you having? He couldn't describe exactly what he was feeling he just said he didn't feel right and something was wrong. We just told him to get some rest we knew he had an upper respiratory infection take a hot shower put some Vicks on and try to rest and drink lots of water. The next day he committed suicide. Anyone that knew my son knew this was completely out of character for him as he was the happiest person and most motivated person anyone would want to meet. He was up for a promotion at work had just bought a new truck and had his budget made out till the end of May with money left over out of each paycheck. After going through his phone computer records everything we can find there was nothing out of place everything was going along great. I saw him the weekend before this took place and he seemed perfectly normal to me a little run down from being sick for the past two months as he hated going to doctors and taking drugs for obvious reasons. Do not take this drug it might make you kill yourself!
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replied August 8th, 2017
I'm so sorry for your loss. I googled my symptoms--depression and taking azithromycin-- and that is how I found your post. I am so down right now I can't believe it. I never would have thought an antibiotic could do this. I am on day 2 with a Z pack. I'll be ok, though.Thank you for sharing this. I thought I was losing my mind.I am thinking of you and your family .
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replied August 8th, 2017
I'm so sorry for your loss. I googled my symptoms--depression and taking azithromycin-- and that is how I found your post. I am so down right now I can't believe it. I never would have thought an antibiotic could do this. I am on day 2 with a Z pack. I'll be ok, though.Thank you for sharing this. I thought I was losing my mind.I am thinking of you and your family .
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replied August 23rd, 2017
Hello, I did a Google search today for depression after AZITHROMYCIN and found this thread. I have just been prescribed this med for a bacterial infection in my lungs. It definitely helped, but I started to notice after finishing it, that I would wake up in the morning feeling incredibly depression and lethargic. It can come and go but the worse time is usually in the morning. It seems to be getting slightly better over time a week later. What's weird is I have been through so much stuff in the last 3 years between losing my job of 20 years, multiple knee surgeries and even losing both my parents and I never once felt this depressed. It started literally the day I stopped this drug. Every drug has side effects and this isn't the worst I've seen but I was kind of shocked that only 5 days of treatment with this drug can cause such a strange withdrawal symptom. Thanks for your original post.
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replied October 20th, 2017
I took azithromycin 500 tablets for 3 days due to sore throat and viral fever. I finished the 3rd tab yesterday morning and i've felt really depressed ever since. I started looking at things I don't have and comparing myself to others. I started feeling that i've lost my close friends, i hate my job, i don't have a partner to share my life with, everything is pointless etc.
I had an inkling that it had something to do with azithromycin so i started googling and i am glad I did. Knowing that I'm not the only one and it will eventually subside gives me some relief.

I'll wait it out this time and never take another azithromycin tablet again!
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